Sonowal, Bodo leaders meet Rajnath Singh

A delegation from Assam led by Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal met Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh here during the weekend to discuss issues related to safeguards for preserving the cultural and linguistic identity and heritage of the state.
They also discussed the implementation of Clause-6 of the Assam Accord and issues related to grant of tribal status to six communities. 
Several representatives of the Bodo groups including the Bodoland Territorial Council chief Hagrama Muhilary, Chandan Brahma, Minister from BPF in the State Government and Biswajit Daimary, MP also met the Union Home Minister and discussed the various outstanding demands of Bodo community, an official press release said.
The Union Home Minister said that,  while introducing the Citizenship Amendment Bill in the Lok Sabha on January 8, he had made it abundantly clear that the Bill was not meant for the individuals belonging to six minorities who have come from one particular country. 
It was also not meant for individuals living in one particular State. At the same time, it was a fact that Assam has borne the disproportionate burden of migration due to religious persecution in our neighbouring countries.   
Mr Rajnath Singh said he had therefore made it clear that Assam should not bear this burden alone.  It was the responsibility of the entire country and the burden should also be shared by the entire country, he added. 
“We are committed to helping the persons belonging to six minority communities, who have been compelled to come to India because of religious persecution in the three neighbouring countries.  Those who qualify for citizenship under the amended Citizenship Act would be free to reside and settle in any State,” he added.
He said the Government will also expect the recommendations of the High Powered Committee  set up to suggest measures for the implementation of the Clause 6 of the Assam Accord.   
The action taken by the Government to set up this High-Level Committee is a landmark step in the direction of preserving the cultural, linguistic identity of Assam. This Committee has a very broad mandate. He urged all those who have the interest of Assam and the Assamese people in their heart, to take advantage of this historic opportunity, he said.
The Union Home Minister said the decision to grant tribal status to six communities should also be seen in the same spirit. He assured the Bodo leaders that this decision will be implemented only after ensuring that the political and employment-related privileges and rights of the existing tribes in Assam were fully protected.  
The necessary modalities for this will be worked out by the State Governments in consultation with all the stakeholders, he said.
Mr Rajnath Singh said certain misgivings about the Citizenship Amendment Bill were being spread.  He will soon be calling a meeting of the Chief Ministers of the concerned States.  
They will further discuss the safeguards that need to be provided for protecting the interests of these States and protecting their cultural and linguistic identity, he added.

(Our News Desk can be contacted at

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